A 7 Point Plan for QLD Local Government
The Local Government Association of Queensland is advocating for the needs of Queensland communities in this year’s federal election. Queensland communities deserve a guarantee that at least 1 per cent of the taxes Australians pay Canberra is returned to local projects that are important to them.
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) is the peak body for the 77 local governments in Queensland.
The centrepiece of the LGAQ’s election plan is the restoration of Financial Assistance Grants to at least 1 per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue. Access to this level of revenue would enable local governments to better target the real challenges and opportunities facing their local communities.
Federal funding to local government also makes good public policy and economic sense boosting Australia’s Gross Domestic Product by over $1.4 billion and enabling national challenges to be responded to with local solutions.
Local infrastructure, job creation, social challenges and public amenity can be best addressed when decision making is targeted to each communities’ unique needs. Local government is best placed to do this.
Australian communities deserve a guarantee that at least 1 per cent of their taxes are returned to local projects that are important to them.
Queensland councils and their communities face unique challenges and look to the Federal Government for their support and leadership.
Queensland is Australia's most decentralised state.
Over 58% of the land area of Queensland is drought declared in January 2019.
Over 20% of our councils are discrete indigenous councils.
We have the Great Barrier Reef, supporting 64,000 jobs and generating economic activity estimated at $6.4 billion per year.
Our state is the most impacted by natural disasters, with a projected total economic cost of $18.3 billion per annum by 2050.
Our councils employ nearly 40,000 people and manage public assets worth a combined $155 billion.
Queensland local governments support the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) federal election plan. ALGA is the national voice of local government representing 537 councils across Australia. ALGA believes that all Australians, regardless of where they live, deserve equal access to services and infrastructure that will preserve and enhance their quality of life.
Formally addressing drought
Droughts and flooding rains. The deluge in the north has not meant an end to the drought in much of Queensland. Hear from McKinlay Shire Council Mayor Belinda Murphy.
Addressing the infrastructure cliff
This Federal election #QLD councils are asking for support to renew essential infrastructure. Hear from Maranoa Regional Councillor David Schefe on why essential infrastructure needs urgent attention.
Closing the gap this Federal election
This Federal Election Queensland indigenous communities need a formal and genuine commitment to redressing housing disadvantage. Hear from Mayor Vonda Malone from Torres Shire Council on why we can't ignore this issue any longer.
Restoration of Financial Assistance Grants
Mayor Jenny Hill of Townsville City Council talks about what restoration of Financial Assistance Grants to 1 per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue means for local communities.
Heading into 2019 and a Federal election
LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam speaks about key issues for Queensland local government in 2019, including the federal election and the need to advocate on the restoration of Financial Assistance Grants.
A genuine commitment to the Great Barrier Reef
Hear from Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox on why the Great Barrier Reef needs to be an election priority.
Improving road safety and sustainability
North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers on why roads need to be highlighted this Federal election.
We need access to a growth tax
Back the ALGA/ LGAQ campaign for 1% of total federal taxation revenue going to councils.
As someone who studied the so-called dismal science at University then practiced it in Canberra for 5 years up till 1988, I understand public finance inside out. It’s no wonder I turned completely grey at 50.
The notion of vertical fiscal imbalance is very real to me. Two numbers sum it up - our councils must manage 33% of the nation’s infrastructure with just 3% of total public sector tax receipts. The Federal Government has income tax, company tax and indirect taxes such as fuel excise, while the states have all of the GST money, stamp duty, payroll and land tax, mining royalties, the list goes on.
Councils have Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs), a source of revenue that never grows in line with the economy. It only moves in line with population growth and inflation. Even then, it has twice been frozen - first by the Howard Government then the Abbott Government, costing Queensland councils an estimated $80 million and permanently lowering the base for this funding.
Contrary to public opinion, rates are not a growth tax. History shows us that, in the post-GFC era over the past decade, they have only kept pace with inflation. Perversely, councils do worse in periods of sustained population growth as our tax base does not move in accordance with the pace or cost of rolling out new infrastructure. Nor do regulated infrastructure charges close the gap.
It’s really tough for small councils to fund infrastructure renewal and the larger ones to fund growth. The Auditor-General isn’t wrong when he continually raises the problem of asset management in our sphere of government, but the real answer lies not in council chambers nor 1 William Street but with Federal Treasury and its political masters.
Recently, the Federal Government committed to an $8 billion top up of GST payments to the states, yet Canberra’s miserly support of councils remains unchanged. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
As I’ve said previously over the past 22 years, local government’s share of the national tax cake has fallen to just 0.55% of the total. You and your communities deserve better
Think of what your council could do for your community if your FAGs grant went up 80%!
Let’s not be distracted by trinkets and baubles come election time - let’s focus on the main game of at least one percent of total federal taxation for council Financial Assistance Grants. Nothing else will pass muster.
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Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006